Key West - Wild and Wonderful

We loved Key West. It was a great place to hang out and do nothing or go on the tours and see the museums. We did a little of both!

Key West - Wild and Wonderful

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by KimberNicola on April 20, 2005

Once landing at the Key West airport in that tiny connecting airplane, you will be ready to celebrate LIFE!! Key West has plenty of places to go and do that! Duval is the place to be. There is a great variety of bars, restaurants, and shopping along this street. My favorite restaurant was Mangoes, my favorite clothing store was Fresh Produce, and my favorite bar was Captain Tony's.

For nightlife, you can listen to live music, dance, sing karaoke, or watch a drag queen show! Stop by the famous Sloppy Joe's and Margaritaville for some neat souvenirs in the gift shops! Mallory Square shouldn't be missed for the sunset celebration, especially if you're a people-watcher. There are a lot of sidewalk entertainers there doing anything, from acrobatics to fire-eating. You can also find artwork for sale in an art-fair atmosphere and more souvenirs at little tables around the square. This is where the cruise ships dock. If you're not getting off one, they're fun to check out, too.

Duvall is also a mecca for shoppers. You can find great clothes, fine or costume jewelry, and shoes made right in Key West!

We had a lot of fun cruising with Danger Tours. We did a snorkel/kayaking trip with them. The captain and first mate were welcoming and hilarious! It was windy while we were there, so we couldn't go to the coral reef, but rather to the sponge garden. It wasn't the greatest, but it was still fun for my first time. While kayaking, we saw a shark (okay, so it was 1 foot long!) and stopped at a small beach.

Tour the city on the Conch Tour Train. You can see a lot in a short amount of time and get the history of the island and special places on it. ${QuickSuggestions} This really isn't a place to bring children. Save this one for an anniversary trip and leave the kids at home. Key West is great fun for grown-ups, but also very commercialized. If you want to have a quiet, laid-back vacation, you may want to stay close to your resort. If you want to party and be a part of the action, try to stay somewhere near Duval and Mallory Square. That's where all the activity is.${BestWay} Rent a scooter, as they're a lot of fun and easier to find parking for than a car. There is very little available for parking on Key West, so I'd forget about renting a car. You can find rental places at the airport, but you can also take a cab to your hotel (with your luggage) and find scooter rentals just off of Duval.

Angelina Guesthouse

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by KimberNicola on April 20, 2005

Angelina Guesthouse is a comfortable place to stay at budget prices. Cats will welcome you upon your arrival, as will the human hosts there. This is a charmingly remodeled historic building close to the Bahamian Village in Old Key West. Its uses range from once being a general store to a popular brothel and gambling spot.

The 13 rooms are modest in decor. Our room was downright small, with about 18 inches of space from the bed to the wall and from room door to the bathroom on the other side of the bed. It was very clean and cozy, though! Almost every room has its own, newer private bathroom, but no phone or TV (who needs it here, though?). Two rooms have full kitchens, and one has a microwave and small refrigerator.

The pool area was very pretty, lush with tropical landscaping and a small waterfall. Relaxing on a hammock in the sunshine next to the pool was nice. Yummy cinnamon rolls and muffins are served in the morning as a part of the continental breakfast included with the room.

Our hosts were great, and everywhere they recommended for eating or touring was fabulous! They even met us at Captain Tony's for a drink one night. Maybe you'll find my business card there among the thousands of cards and hundreds of bras on the ceiling and walls!!

Angelina Guesthouse
302 Angela Street
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 294-4480

Blue Heaven

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by KimberNicola on April 20, 2005

This was our first stop on our first evening, as it was 1 block from our B&B, and we loved it! It is all outside on sandy ground and a courtyard that is paved with the slate pool table tops from the days the downstairs operated as a billiard hall and ice cream parlour. This 100 year old building has quite a past. A century ago the residents of this house sold spirits to Key West and Florida Keys residents. Through the years the property has hosted cock fighting, gambling and Friday night boxing matches refereed by Ernest Hemingway. There was once a dance hall, a bordello and a playhouse on the second floor.

Today the restaurant is a fun place to spend an evening, too. The bar is like a tiki hut with a straw roof, and there is a nice long rope swing to play on no matter how old you are. While we were there, a group of friends celebrating were swinging between dinner and dessert!

We had a couple of specialty drinks while we waited for a table. They were very good, but must have been more potent than I expected. Whoa! We didn't have reservations, which are only accepted for parties of 10 or more, but waited only about 15 minutes. Dinner was very good, I had the Caribbean BBQ Shrimp and John had the Jerk Chicken. We had a really good time eating here, it was an experience of pure fun, and if you want to you can check out their gift shop on your way out.

Blue Heaven Restaurant
729 Thomas St
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-8666


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by KimberNicola on April 26, 2005

Mangoes is an inviting place in the heart of old-town Key West, right in the center of activity on Duval Street. You can enjoy spending time in the bar but I recommend having a fabulous dinner here. With both indoor and Duval-side garden dining, (the brick patio winds around and into a courtyard with trees and vines) Mangoes is known for "Floribbean" cuisine that blends Caribbean influences, local seafood and a touch of the Mediterranean. The cuisine here is a step above, with fabulous choices from the only brick oven pizza in town to Cuban Coffee Pork. Lots of fabulous seafood, too.

The staff was attentive and enjoyable. It seems whenever we travel we find someone with roots from home, and our waiter was one of them. The food was wonderful, and John found a new favorite, Mahi Mahi. If you are in Key West, Mangoes is one of the best, if not the best restaurant in town!

700 Duval Street
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 292-4606

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by KimberNicola on April 26, 2005

If you are interested in what it's like to dive for treasure and actually find one, check out this museum. Mel Fisher is a local hero to these parts, as he and a crew of treasure hunters found four sunken ships; the Nuestra Señora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita, both of which sank in a hurricane in 1622; The St. John’s Wreck, a vessel of exploration that carried conquistadors to the Caribbean in roughly 1560; and the Henrietta Marie, an English merchant slaver that sank off the Florida Keys in 1700.

Europeans explored what was to them a whole "New World", and exhibits include their exploits, their commerce and the havoc they wreaked by both accident and on purpose to the native inhabitants of the Americas.

Be sure to watch the short film before you walk through the museum. It gives you a background into the history of Mel Fisher, as well as the ships they discovered. You will have a better understanding of the exhibits with the information gained in the film. Exhibits include paintings, artifacts found in the wrecks and a highlight for kids (okay, so I thought it was cool, too!) is touching a bar of pure gold.

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
200 Greene St
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 294-2633

© LP 2000-2009